Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers

JUNE 20, 2016

by Andrew Schneider Bedding Specialist

Side sleepers can take the aches and pains out of a long day, and get an even better night’s sleep with bed pillows that have been developed to support and relax the upper body. Your choices include full-body pillows and a U-shaped maternity body pillow developed for pregnant women, as well as standard-sized pillows designed to support your head and neck when you sleep on your side.


White pillow

Pillows Reduce Your Pressure Points

Besides daily stress, discomfort due to pressure points prevents deep restful sleep, particularly for side sleepers, where a conventional pillow combined can cause pinch points at the base of the neck, the caps of the shoulders, lower spine, hips, and knees. Although regular pillows can cushion pressure points, a side sleeper or body pillow may be the best pillow for side sleepers.

Two white pillows

Side Sleeper Pillows Come in Standard Sizes

Some standard-size side-sleeper pillows resemble sofa cushions. Seaming holds the pillow’s fill in place for better support, while the squared sides of the pillow offer thicker edges that support your neck in a more natural position.

If you have a long neck or broad shoulders, this style of pillow helps keep your spine properly aligned for more restful sleep. Hold one between your knees for firmer support of your pelvis and lower back, or even place one directly against the small of your back. You get better sleep without cluttering your bed with pillows of odd sizes or shapes, or having to buy special linens or cases to make pillows blend into your existing decor.

Green body pillow

Full-Body Pillows Offer Total-Body Comfort

Another common solution for side sleepers is the full-length body pillow. They are available in several lengths and degrees of firmness, and they're often made to look and feel like standard pillows. Full-length body pillows can also come with squared sides.

If you're looking for a one-pillow solution for relieving your pressure points, a body pillow offers more support for your spine by giving you something substantial to lean into as you relax into sleep. Once you're comfortable and relaxed, you're less likely to toss and turn during the night. The same pillow can also support your neck, hips, and back at the same time, making it convenient to use every night.

It's also easy to decorate around a full body pillow; many come covered in washable ticking that goes from bed to floor to den without undue wear and tear. Many bed linen manufacturers now offer conventional pillowcases designed to fit longer pillows as well.

Woman sleeping on a u-shaped body pillow

Cradle Yourself in Comfort

If you're looking for a side-sleeping pillow with more of a custom fit, try a U-shaped total body pillow. Developed for pregnant women to support their lower backs while they sleep, U-shaped maternity pillows invite you to nestle comfortably in the pillow’s generous curve and relax. You can easily turn from side to side, or prop yourself up to watch TV or read.

Purple and blue body pillows

Indulge Yourself with Novelty Prints

Indulge your sense of whimsy with body and side-sleeper pillows covered in novelty prints, such as Serta's Counting Sheep. With many designer colors to choose from, you can find a pillow that makes you laugh while it helps you relax and rest better. There are even side-sleeping pillows that provide a bed mate, such as snuggle pillows like the Companion Boyfriend Pillow, which supports your head and neck with a comfortable shoulder and an encircling arm.

Pink, upright pillow

When You Need a Pillow Alternative

If conventional short pillows can’t help you reduce pressure points, consider what other pillow alternatives can do. For instance, a lounger support pillow that helps prop you up in bed can also give you the extra support you want when lying on your side. Other styles, such as a multi-position lounger pillow, offer you support similar to that of a chair back but also lie flat for reclining and sleeping.